How to Transfer Film to DVD
Jennifer O’Rourke: Welcome back. I’m Jennifer O’Rourke, Videomaker Managing Editor.
Brian Peterson: And I’m Brian Peterson, Editor in Chief.
Jennifer O’Rourke: And we’re here to read some of our readers’ letters to you. We get letters every day, hundreds of letters every week, and we try to pull out a couple of them that we think will be good for general audience. And this one in particular, that we’re going to start off is, a question we get often like that, dubbing film to DV, or DVD.
Brian Peterson: This is something, you know, every once in a while, you know, we get some of these questions, and the question that usually is around, hey, how do I do it myself?
We certainly can suggest that you don’t, but if you really want to try it, I mean, the simple thing is to throw it up on the screen and see if that works. Really, there’s no way to get satisfactory results doing it that way. So, once you tried it, and found out that, perhaps, for your particular application, that’s not quite what you want, well, first of all, we didn’t encourage people to go to our magazine, go to the back pages, and our classifieds. We usually have one or two folks back there who are doing just this type of transfer.
But if you want to, obviously, search online, there are many places that will do that type of transfer for you. And they use the process that is much more sophisticated than just projecting an image up on the wall. They use a telecine, or a telecin, it’s done in a professional environment, where they guarantee you get the highest quality out of those images.
And really, for the most part, these are very, very valuable images. They’re usually family members, from years ago, and I would really encourage people to invest a little money, and, in fact, you might be a little surprised at how cheap it can be.
But what’s interesting is that there is a kind of cheap, and there’s really expensive. And there doesn’t seem-
Jennifer O’Rourke: Nothing in the middle.
Brian Peterson: to be a lot in the middle.
Jennifer O’Rourke: Yeah.
Brian Peterson: So, try to outsource it. If it’s valuable enough to even do it yourself, it’s probably worth trying to do a professional way, so…
Jennifer O’Rourke: And it’s really good to do anyway, to be able to keep those archives going once machines are no longer available, once the technology is no longer there. How are you going to be able to show them anyway?
Brian Peterson: Try finding a projector if you don’t have one, it’s going to be challenge in itself.
Jennifer O’Rourke: Yes, yes. I actually bought one at a yard sale, just because of that. Just in case, not that I’ll ever do, but just in case, yeah. So that’s a good way to do it, too.
Brian Peterson: All right, this next one here is, it actually comes from a physician who did a really interesting test. He was finding that the image that he was seeing through his viewfinder was different than what he was seeing on both his computer monitor and his television. And, he threw up a series of lines, each numbered, and he found out those numbered lines were different when they were seen on the television. So, what’s going on here? How can we address that?
Jennifer O’Rourke: Well, basically what he did, he was videotaping a piece of paper, and he had lines set up there, and he framed the paper completely in his camera, and realized once he played it out, that it was bleeding to the edges and he couldn’t read all the information on that text.
He thought that it was possibly something wrong with his edit software that he’s using, he’s using Premiere Pro. He also thought maybe it had something to do when he was dubbing it to his DVD, which uses encore.
It’s that, but it’s not. When you go to your editing system, and Premiere Pro, on your program side monitor, there’s a button that’s called Safe title, Safe action, and it has two little boxes, one inside the other box. He pressed that on, you’re always going to be able to see where your saved title is. The problem he’s having is really not the software, it’s the camera, and the monitor. The monitor, your viewfinder on the camera is never going to read exactly what your camera sees. Your camera is seeing a wider scanned picture than what your actual monitor is going to play out. You always want to shoot something that’s going to be between that safe area.
So, if you’re going to shoot something, if you’re actually going to shoot letters, you want to actually shoot a little bit wider. And either zoom it in in your software, or have it framed enough that you’re going to be able to see those letters, because once you shoot it and you’re off, you’re never going to be able to get it back.
Brian Peterson: And some of the Prosumer camcorders actually have a selector where you can select, title safe, action safe, area, so you can actually see that in the viewfinder itself. Again, what you just said, though, even that is not going to be precisely representative of the final output. So, still cheat a little bit to be on the safe side.
Jennifer O’Rourke: Yeah. And I used to work in broadcast television. And we used to actually draw tiny little squares right at the top and the bottom of viewfinders, just to make sure that we had that right. I’m not telling you to do that on your viewfinder, but, maybe a little bit of black tape, until you, to get a good idea of what it looks like.
But do exactly what he did, this was Dr James Winnick, Scottsdale, Arizona. And he actually shot some samples, just to see, exactly, where his scan lines are.
Brian Peterson: Great idea. Great idea.
All right. Who’s next?
Jennifer O’Rourke: Actually this one I have is one for you. It’s a puzzle. I want to ask you about this. He’s, we get this question a lot, too, and this is the problem I’m having. William Anderson through e-mail has asked us, During editing, I shuttle my tapes back and forth to precisely select my edit points, and then I have to shuttle all capturing. Basically, he’s putting in a lot of tapes, he’s doing a lot of shuttling, and he’s worried about the wear-n-tear on his camera, and he wants to know if he can get a cheaper camera to use as his play deck.
Brian Peterson: I think the short answer is, yeah. Be very worried. If you spend a few thousand dollars on your camcorder, and you really don’t want to be beating on it, back and forth, back and forth, short of actually going out and purchasing a dedicated deck where transport mechanisms are very robust, and they’re designed for that kind of shuttling, back and forth, the answer is yes. Maybe.
Jennifer O’Rourke: But?
Brian Peterson: Okay, so here’s the but. You have a cheaper DVD camcorder which, in theory, will output via FireWire, the identical program material that you shot with another camera.
But in experience, that we had, and we heard of others having the same experiences, there are some things sometimes where the head will wear on a tape, that will make it only really functionally play back on that particular camera. So, our suggestion is, try it out. If you have somebody else’s camcorder, or even an older camcorder of your own, just give it a shot. See if it works. And if it works, chances are it’ll work the second time, and that’s a really, really good idea. Way to save some head hours on that nice pristine new camcorder you’ve got.
Jennifer O’Rourke: Definitely. But do test it out first. Because if you input hundreds of hours of video, and then find out that you can’t do anything with it, that you can’t bring it back, that you can’t output, then you’ve got lines, or wrinkles, or what looks like wrinkles in tape, you have to do it all over again, so…
Test it first.
Brian Peterson: Yeah.
Jennifer O’Rourke: This one’s actually another one for you. It’s very short one, it’s on green screening. And this gentleman, Nathan, from, actually, he didn’t give us where he’s from; wants to know some information regarding the type of camcorder is best suited for green screen? What specs of the camcorder should I be concerned with the most?
Brian Peterson: Short question, long answer. We’ll try to keep it short, though.
Unfortunately, mini DV is not the best format, as we know, to use for trying to do with the green screen. It has to do with color space. The way that the mini DV works is that it takes the YUV signal, samples the brightness value, or the luminance four times, and then the UV, or the color part of the signal only one time. So there’s four times as many samples for the luminance as there is for chrominance.
What that breaks down into is, since you’re doing Chroma key, your Chroma values just don’t have the resolution that’s necessary to do a real believable key. Now, it’s not to say you can’t do it, we do it here, we’ve done it in our workshops, and you know, it’s fun, it’s believable to a degree, but you will always get a little bit of fringing on the sides, especially hair, anything that’s not a really well defined edge. It’s going to show green.
We would suggest you play with it, the better camcorders will do a little bit better job, three CCDs will certainly help you, but really the best way to get a believable green screen is going to whole different tape format than just the nature of the beast.
There are certain software applications that the price you want to do the better job, and lesser expensive ones, and we encourage you to play around. It’s a fun thing to do, and we’re not saying you can’t, it’s just going to limit you a little bit.
Jennifer O’Rourke: And doesn’t lighting have a lot to do with it? Your distance from the screen?
Brian Peterson: Yes.
Jennifer O’Rourke: The shadowing.
Brian Peterson: Well lit background, nice even lighting, of course, will help sell the shot even better. Absolutely.
Jennifer O’Rourke: I have another, I have another question for Matt, actually, we’re going to ask Matt come here. This is from Dave Stover, and he has a question about vidcasting and distribution. He says, in your viewfinder, Februrary 2006 editorial, you mentioned a small number of video distributors control the retail market place for instructional and special interest videos. And he wants to know how Matt thinks distribution is going to go in the future, and how people are going to be able to make money on this distribution.
Brian Peterson: Come on in up.
Matt: Thank you, Jennifer.
Jennifer O’Rourke: Here, take my chair.
Matt: All right, well, you know, it’s really interesting to see how much has changed in such a short time, I mean, the concept of vidcasting is not even a year old right now. So we are really at the embryonic stages of all this. However, the idea of how to get an audience, hot get the customers, outside the traditional video tape distribution, or DVD distribution system, really can be answered what’s one word, which is search.
So, like Google and Yahoo and other search engines provide mechanism for seekers to find text and graphics in, basically, web pages, likewise or some other search engines, Yahoo podcast has one for example, that allows you to search both for audio podcasts, and also video podcasts, or we call them vidcasts.
So I think that the way you’re going to find your customers is going to be through search engines. Now, in terms of how you monetize this, how you actually make money doing that. Just yesterday, Andrew exchanged an e-mail with us about bitpast, which is a company we met with any be last year, that would be 2005, and they have a mechanism where in order for you to access particular URL or particular portion of a video, you’ve got to pay a fee. And once you pay a fee, in your bitpast account, it could be 3c, it could be $30, it could be $3 000, bitpast doesn’t really care, but it’s a way to monetize your content.
And, Brian, we’ve spoken about this before. Have you got any opinions on this matter?
Brian Peterson: Well, this is such an exciting development. We’ve never had as an independent producers the opportunity to actually make any money with our material, sort of getting the distributer, either sneaker editing stuff to everybody’s door that we know through DVD, so I think, in the next year or so, we’re really going to see some exciting ways to make some money on a small scale, and this whole idea on a 1000 audiences of one, I think, is just incredible, where it’s not going to take a lot. So, just a few pennies even, but you multiply that a few thousand times or hundred thousand times, that becomes really exciting for us.
Matt: Yeah, it’s a good segueto, this theory of long tail where you know for both Amazon and Block Buster, these are both media companies, one sells video, one sells, mostly, I guess it cut its teeth in selling books and paper and ink, they make more money selling lots of small quantities of books, or in the case of Block Buster, videos, to a large audience, then they do selling enormous quantity of one video, like the latest hot video, to a very small number of people. So, long tail theory is kind of prescribes the notion that we’re going to see the world kind of migrate to the web.
I mean, web is a really great example of that. There are few websites that have a tremendous amount of traffic, but there are millions of websites with a little bit of traffic.
So I think there’s a great promise for all of us who are out there trying to market our videos. So, that will segue on to the next segment.
Brian Peterson: Yeah, and please, make sure that if you have a question, you send them at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if we have time and we haven’t answered it already, we’ll be sure to try to get it on one of our vidcasts.